Dec 09 2007

How to Avoid the Red-Eye With 5 Special Insider Tricks

Published by at 10:54 pm under Tips and Ideas

As I write this, it is winter here in North America. That means earlier darkness and more time indoors due to cooler (colder!) weather. This, in turn, means more flash assisted photos. As well, the Christmas parties are in full swing, and with all the digital cameras, like the Canon A720IS that I have, there will be lots of picture taking.
Flash + Camera + People = Red Eye !!!

Here is an article by guest author Philip Krasteff about this Red Eye problem.

That is a problem bothering many photographers and especially ordinary people who try to take pictures at a party in very low-light conditions. In this case the built-in camera flashes are quite convenient but they can produce terrible results starting from red-eye to a nuclear-looking and unnatural glow when used at evening parties.

1) Most cameras have a built in red-eye reduction mode like in the Cannon Rebel for example. You can find it easily in the menu, just navigate to it and turn it on. It’s that simple.

The idea behind the red-eye reduction is that the camera shines a bright light in your eye, right before the flash goes off. That’s supposed to reduce the size of your pupil and than reduce the glare of your eye.

Most photographers don’t like to use the red-eye reduction because for one thing the bright light in your eye is pretty annoying at a party, and for another thing you often still end up with red-eye, even when you’re using the mode.

2) Another mode that a lot of cameras have that can help you reduce the red-eye is something called “night time flash” mode. In the case of Cannon Rebel you simply turn the top dial until you get to a little picture that looks like a person standing underneath the star.

“Night Time Flash” mode slows down the shutter speed of your camera. So you capture everything that’s in the background, but the flash still goes off and everyone with in about 10 feet of you is eliminated.

That gets rid of that artificial party look where everyone in front of you is really bright but it looks like there is no party behind them.

One thing to watch out with this mode is that you have to hold the camera really steady. Otherwise you get a lot of movement and blurring your shots. Which can be very artistic, but it might not be the one you’re looking for.

3) Another setting you can use is called “Flash exposure compensation”. You should use this setting when your subjects are consistently overexposed (too bright). Usually this setting is located in the menu of options, and it allows you to adjust the intensity of the flash. Recommended is to start with a setting of -1 and go from there.

4) Increasing the ISO speed setting can help you achieving some pretty good results, but remember to return to the default when you’re done. By increasing your ISO speed from 100 to 200, 400 or more, you’re essentially increasing the sensitivity of your image sensor.

The results usually include more background information and an extended flash range (from 8feet to 15 feet). You should know that you will get a little more image noise in the higher ISO settings. That isn’t much of an issue in smaller prints, but it might be noticeable in enlargements, especially in the shadow areas.

5) Shutter Priority mode is one of the best tricks that you could use, if you’re lucky enough to have it in your camera. Essentially, it allows you to set any shutter speed you want, and the camera then adjusts the aperture and the flash output to match. The default shutter speed in flash mode for most cameras is 1/60 second. If you switch to shutter-priority mode, you can slow down the shutter speed to 1/30 or 1/15 second, and you’ll notice a big difference in your shots.

Those speeds are long enough to capture much more background information-such as twinkling lights, candles, and such–but not so slow that you get excessive blurring and camera shake. If you combine this technique with increasing your ISO to 200, you’ll get some great results. This is a winner for party pictures.

About the Author:

Expert author Philip Krasteff is giving you the best tricks and digital techniques to improve your pictures like a pro. More little known and closely guarded techniques of digital photography – at the author’s website

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